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Steelers Destroy the Ravens on Monday Night Football
The scene was set. It was the 75th anniversary of the Steelers franchise and many heroes from the past were on hand to watch. On hand were Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann, Jerome Bettis, Jack Lambert, Mean Joe Green, Jack Ham, John Stallworth, Rocky Blier and more. Even Bill Cowher returned to Heinz Field to celebrate a night the hated Ravens came to town. The Steelers were 5-2, with the Ravens and Cleveland remaining one step away from the division.
The Steelers had the ball first and Willie Parker’s first run was 1 yard. The Ravens defense has always been tough on the run and I thought it was going to be a struggle for Parker. Ben hit Ward for a nice 15 yard pass that resulted in a 1st down. The Ravens’ starting corners were inactive due to injury, so the passing game was going to be key. During the 1st series, it was raining so hard that I thought the game was being played in Florida. The Ravens defense held and the Steelers were 3 and out. I was really hoping the Steelers would set the tone by cutting down their first streak and scoring a touchdown.
The Steelers push the ball away and it sails into the end zone for a touchdown. Steve McNair and the Ravens start from the 20-yard line. The Ravens try to establish a running game by running W.McGahee and L.McClain on 1st and 2nd downs for a total of 4 yards. The Ravens are able to get a 1st down with a pass from Mcnair to Q.Sypniewski. The Ravens have a new series of downs and on the 1st down, Mcnair launches and incomplete pass to D.Mason. In the 2nd down, W.McGahee is stopped for a loss of -3 by T.Polamalu.
He is now 3rd and 13th and something is about to happen that will set the tone for the rest of the game. McNair takes the snap in the shotgun and the guy who replaced Joey Porter, James Harrison forces McNair to fumble for the ball which is also recovered by James Harrison. I have to admit, I’m a big fan of Joey Porter and I was afraid that losing him would mean the Steelers would lose some of the meanness and toughness we’ve come to expect. Millions of football fans were set to witness James Harrison’s release party who would terrorize the Ravens offense all night long.
The points on turnovers are huge and the Steelers needed to score here. They had the ball on the Ravens 20-yard line and the rain had died down. Once again the Ravens D were solid and the Steelers were forced into a 3rd Down situation. I guess the Steelers would go for a short pass to pick up the 3 yards needed for a 1st down. Ben took the snap under center and backed up to pass. The Ravens pass rush was coming and Ben threw the ball to Heath Miller in the end zone for a touchdown! Ben was hit after throwing the pass and T.Suggs was called off for roughing up the passer. That’s what I’m talking about. Aim for touchdowns and not field goals in the red zone! Steelers 7 Ravens 0.
The Ravens get the ball back and the Steelers defense forces them to 3 and out. The Steelers get the ball back and I expect them to walk down the field and score again. The Steelers are forced to a 3rd and 2 and Ben throws an incomplete pass to Nate Washington. I thought the Steelers should have taken advantage of the wet ground and run Davenport in the belly on 3rd Down.
The Steelers kicked the ball and their penalties offset each other, which meant a replay of 4th Down. Sepulveda sends the ball to the dangerous Ed Reed who sends the ball to the Ravens 32-yard line. Ed Reed begins his comeback and runs into a mack truck in the form of James Harrison. James Harrison basically catches Reed in the air and the body slams him to the turf and in the process the ball goes out and is picked up by the Steeler’s Timmons who send the fumble back to the Ravens 28. ESPN replayed the body slam by Harrison multiple times on TV and it was a thing of beauty. At this point, James Harrison has had 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovered fumble, 1 sack, and national name recognition. Harrison was playing like a caged beast that had been tasered and unleashed on the Ravens!
James Harrsion set up the Steelers well with his forced fumble and they had to score some points. 4 games later, Ben had the Steelers 1-and-10 against the Ravens 18 with 2:30 to go in the 1st quarter. Big Ben then hits Santonio Holmes for a 15-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-0.
Today’s Steelers put on a great show for the Monday Night Football crowd and made Bradshaw and the rest of the former players proud of that historic night. The 1st quarter ended with a 14-0 victory for the Steelers.
The 2nd quarter is as exciting as the 1st with 3 touchdown passes from Ben Roethlisberger. 1st was a 30-yard pass play to Nate Washington, 2nd was a 35-yard pass play to Santonio Holmes, and 3rd was a 7-yard pass play to Nate Washington. The Ravens were able to get on the scoreboard with a 33-yard run from McGahee TD. James Harrison continues his one-man demolition team when he intercepts McNair on a pass intended for Williams.
The 1st half ended with a 35-7 victory for the Steelers. Big Ben became just the 3rd Steelers player in NFL history to throw for 5 touchdowns in a game. Other players to throw 5 assists in a single game were Terry Bradshaw and Mark Malone. Big Ben looked impressive in the first half with accurate passing and excellent scrambling away from the pass rush. The running game wasn’t there and Ben took over and carried the attack on his arm. The defense was playing as expected except for James Harrison’s Monster play.
The 2nd half wasn’t as exciting as the 1st, but the Steelers won 28 points and the Ravens couldn’t start. The Steelers managed to inflate their statistics in the 3rd quarter with a 22-yard field goal from Jeff Reed. The 3rd quarter also saw Big Ben injured on a 3rd and 7 play when he ran out and was hit after hitting Santonio Holmes for a 45-yard passing play. Ben was down for a few minutes and looked like he was in pain as he approached the sideline. It was later determined that he suffered a hip pointer injury when he hit the turf hard. James Harrsion also complemented his incredible stats by registering another sack on McNair. The Ravens couldn’t put any points on the board in the 3rd quarter.
Ben came back in the 4th quarter but didn’t see much action. Charlie Batch replaced Ben and he was intercepted by Ed Reed. You can’t blame Batch because the poor guy hasn’t seen playtime in ages. The Raven eventually replaced McNair with Boller who also couldn’t move the ball. The Steelers win big by a score of 38-7!
James Harrison becomes the 1st player since 1982 to have 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception, 3.5 sacks and 10 tackles. James Harrison was a beast that night and hopefully tonight was just a sample of what’s to come. It was great to see Bill Cowher and all of the Steelers heroes of the past celebrating such a big win on this 75th anniversary of our beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.
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